Native Angeleno Jenni Kayne fully understands that Los Angeles shoppers who live west of the 405 freeway often don’t frequent stores east of it. So, she decided she needed a retail presence on both sides of the city’s congested interstate.
For a new Westside store, the designer set her sights on the family shopping destination Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica, Calif., where Kayne was convinced her brand would appeal to mothers and daughters. But it took two years of negotiations with owner J.S. Rosenfield & Co. before the right 1,250-square-foot location freed up, when Calypso St. Barth consolidated from two spaces into one.
“It’s an amazing community, and everyone who is in here has a great brand or is a part of the Country Mart’s history,” said Kayne. “It’s such a great mix, and I’m excited to be part of a community like this.” She added, “So many people come here every single day that live on this side of town. I love the overall aesthetic. Its just so California.”
Although Kayne believes stores are a great way to show the breadth of her brand, she’s not in a rush to dot the landscape with Jenni Kayne retail. The Brentwood Country Mart store comes five years after she made her retail debut with a store on West Hollywood’s Almont Drive, between Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, that is around double the size of the second location. Kayne anticipates she will add only one or two more stores over the next five years.
When Jenni Kayne store openings do happen, Kayne takes great pleasure in crafting the retail look. “I love interiors. I did my house and my store, and it is almost more fun for me than clothes because it is not work,” she said. She described her retail point of view as “clean” and very “California.” The store has an exposed wood ceiling, wood jewelry and clothing displays, concrete flooring and whitewashed wood walls.
Kayne prefers to have her initial stores in the Los Angeles area, where she designs and makes her home, because she can keep a close eye on them. She said she pops into the stores once or twice a week to re-merchandise. At the moment, merchandise at the Brentwood Country Mart location is mostly arranged in color stories, but Kayne noted the merchandising concept might shift every couple of weeks. “I like it when a store is clean and organized and you can see everything,” she said.
Kayne’s spring and resort collections are available at the store, where the merchandise is roughly two-thirds knit pieces and shoes, and one-third home, jewelry and other accessories. T-shirts average $150, blazers $500, shorts $300, dresses $500 to $1,100, and shoes are less than $500. There is a strong presentation of third-party brands in bags, shoes, hats, home products and jewelry that include Proenza Schouler, Caleb Siemon, Dieppa Restrepo, Charles Philip, Irit Design, All For The Mountain, Tom Binns and Lara Melchior.
Kayne said the customers in her stores are generally in their 30s and 40s, older and more conservative in their dressing choices than the twentysomethings that buy Jenni Kayne on Shopbop.com, one of her 20 wholesale accounts. She expects the Brentwood Country Mart store to generate at least $1 million in annual retail sales, a figure that her West Hollywood store exceeds. “Everyone that I talk to [at the Brentwood Country Mart] says business has never been better,” she said.